Calling Computer Boffins - what do you think?

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11 years 9 months ago #32893 by SarahM
Got a bit of a computer problem and want your opinion. Long ramble sorry.

My computer suddenly started throwing up windows error messages when hubby was surfing the net. Messages like "bad sector", "system resources running low", and things about errors writing to C drive.

I restarted the computer - my profile and desktop was gone, and more error messages appeared about failing to write to C drive. I did an NTFS scan on C drive (my only hard drive) and it came up with no faults.

Next I realised that my photos, music, and documents were MISSING! I noticed some photos in my recycle bin that I hadn't put there myself. I spent the next two hours crying. [B)] I did a virus scan (McAfee provided with Telecom Broadband) and it found and fixed two infected files. I can't find the place in McAfee where it tells me what the virus is.

Restarted the computer again - no photos/documents, and still error messages about my ailing C drive. At this stage I rang Telecom about McAfee. They put me through to the McAfee helpdesk. The lady at McAfee was barely understandable. McAfee wanted payment of $129 to fix my problem. That wouldn't include retrieval of photos/documents etc - just getting my computer running again. I politely declined.

On further fiddling around with my computer, I noticed that C drive still had 76GB of used space. I highlighted C drive and chose the unhide option from the views menu. Next thing my photos and docs are showing :D - the virus had made them hidden by default. (Next day I bought an external hard drive and backed up everything).

Now my question is - Telecom provide McAfee which is supposed to protect my computer. Are they supposed to assume some responsibility when it lets in a virus which trashes my computer? It was set to all the correct settings - live scan while on the net, scanning file attachments, etc. I'm also quite angry at McAfee that their software failed, and yet they wanted money to fix the problem. [}:)]

The guy at the electronics store where I got the external drive told me McAfee is a piece of crap.

5 acres, husband, daughter, son, me, about 12 sheep and their lambs, currently no ram (yay!), 2 Galloways, about 35 chooks, 3 cats and 2 budgies.

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11 years 9 months ago #437847 by Organix

SarahM;437066 wrote: ...... I'm also quite angry at McAfee that their software failed, and yet they wanted money to fix the problem. [}:)]

The guy at the electronics store where I got the external drive told me McAfee is a piece of crap.

I heard that McAfee recently had an upgrade that crashed the computers it was installed on. Essentially didn't allow the user to access the internet [:(!]

Agree with your IT guy about McAfee. I run ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4 and can't speak highly enough of it :)

Harm Less Solutions.co.nz
NZ & AU distributor of Eco Wood Treatment stains and Bambu Dru bamboo fabrics and clothing

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11 years 9 months ago #437854 by SarahM
Guess what Organix - we also got struck by the McAfee update that caused the internet connection problem. It was quite stressful, as I'd just got out of hospital and wanted to show photos of my new bundle of joy to the world! [;)]

5 acres, husband, daughter, son, me, about 12 sheep and their lambs, currently no ram (yay!), 2 Galloways, about 35 chooks, 3 cats and 2 budgies.

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11 years 9 months ago #437858 by GrantK

SarahM;437066 wrote: My computer suddenly started throwing up windows error messages when hubby was surfing the net. Messages like "bad sector", "system resources running low", and things about errors writing to C drive.

Messages like "Bad Sector" indicate a failing hard drive which is on its last legs. Don't be surprised if it stops working completely one day.

SarahM;437066 wrote: I restarted the computer - my profile and desktop was gone, and more error messages appeared about failing to write to C drive. I did an NTFS scan on C drive (my only hard drive) and it came up with no faults.

This is only a high-level tool and doesn't test the hard drive very thoroughly at all. It sounds to me as though your hard drive is on the way out.

SarahM;437066 wrote: Next I realised that my photos, music, and documents were MISSING! I noticed some photos in my recycle bin that I hadn't put there myself. I spent the next two hours crying.

This reinforces the need to MAKE REGULAR BACKUPS!!!

SarahM;437066 wrote: (Next day I bought an external hard drive and backed up everything).

Good work :)

SarahM;437066 wrote: Now my question is - Telecom provide McAfee which is supposed to protect my computer. Are they supposed to assume some responsibility when it lets in a virus which trashes my computer? It was set to all the correct settings - live scan while on the net, scanning file attachments, etc. I'm also quite angry at McAfee that their software failed, and yet they wanted money to fix the problem. [}:)]

The guy at the electronics store where I got the external drive told me McAfee is a piece of crap.

If you read the T&Cs for your broadband or for McAfee, you will see that they disclaim all responsibility for loss of data. Your only insurance is Regular Backups!

I agree that McAfee is rubbish, and prefer MalwareBytes.

I just use the free version, and run a scan every so often when I think there may have been a problem. To date it has only found one piece of suspected malware in a temperature monitoring program I downloaded. It wasn't actually installed in my system, so couldn't really do anything harmful, but was easily quarantined and deleted with the help of MalwareBytes. It provides piece of mind, and has been my sole virus protection for the past 3 or 4 years.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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11 years 9 months ago #437871 by kai
I second GrantKs advice, hard drive is on its way out, back up everything now.

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11 years 9 months ago #437890 by cloverleaf
Actually I'd totally disagree. "Messages like "bad sector", "system resources running low", and things about errors writing to C drive."....more likely to be result of the virus than a failing hard drive. If it's an HP or Dell there'll be a built in Hard Drive test you can run from the BIOS. If it's another brand then you can run seagate tools or simliar to confirm this.

No, Telecom aren't liable. No, McAfee aren't liable. Nothing (even ESET NOD32) is 100% or stops users doing something daft. Yes, you should be backing up. The following are great and free for home use.
Macrium reflect free (use with a USB external hard drive to "image" your whole PC...saves you paying a geek to restore it). Reasonably easy to use.
Sugarsync (free online storage up to 5gb)
Crashplan (free for backing up between your own PC's)

Malwarebyte is good for removing certain virus' but it (and most others dont) clean up the registry properly. Sometimes malwarebytes causes machines not to boot after removing infected files. Nothing is 100% effective. It's a very good idea to go into the control panel->user accounts and set your every day account as a "standard" user instead of administrator. Less likely to stuff up your machine (we've all done it).

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11 years 9 months ago #437891 by kiwi_jon
SarahM,

Google for and download a program called unhide.exe. Get the one from BleepingComputers. This will reset all your file permissions and you will be able to set the folder view back to 'Dont show hidden files, folders, or drives'. You may need to run it several times in each user profile.

You don't say how you got rid of the fake system tools trojan. It usually takes me a day of scanning with various tools to ensure a machine is completely clean. These trojans have a nasty habit of hiding themselves in multiple places including the boot sector of the hard drive and while it may appear to be clean it can re-infect at any time.

No AV company guarantees its product to be 100% effective. I have seen the type of trojan you got get through every AV, from the free ones to the most expensive. AV's should be just part of solution. Safe internet surfing is another part of the solution. Don't visit sites you are unsure of, never click on website popups, even just to close them down. Shut down the browser or PC and start again.

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11 years 9 months ago #438059 by muletide
I have no faith in McAffee and have know this software as well as Nortons to introduce a virus during an update (ok a long time ago)

Virus's can do all of the above as well as destroy hard drives.

AVG for free is pretty good, and also make sure your PC is fully patched with microsoft updates. These contain may security updates and will help protect your PC.

If there is a fault with your hard drive controller, it can also display these symptoms.

I also agree, backup, Backup, BACKUP, to more than one device. With important files photos and videos, I backup on to external Hard drive, DVD and online.

Life is about the journey, not the destination


CHB

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11 years 9 months ago #438124 by SarahM
So just need to clarify something, can a virus destroy a hard drive (even to the point where trying to reinstall the operating system fails?)

5 acres, husband, daughter, son, me, about 12 sheep and their lambs, currently no ram (yay!), 2 Galloways, about 35 chooks, 3 cats and 2 budgies.

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11 years 9 months ago #438127 by Scuba_Steve

SarahM;437373 wrote: So just need to clarify something, can a virus destroy a hard drive (even to the point where trying to reinstall the operating system fails?)

technically can, but highly unlikely. More likely your HDD has issues


Science is but an organized system of ignorance

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11 years 9 months ago #438139 by ZummersetGirl

Scuba_Steve;437376 wrote: technically can, but highly unlikely. More likely your HDD has issues

Agree entirely with Scuba_Steve. Prepare to replace your hard drive, I'm afraid.

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11 years 9 months ago #438144 by kiwi_jon

SarahM;437373 wrote: So just need to clarify something, can a virus destroy a hard drive (even to the point where trying to reinstall the operating system fails?)

No, however as I mentioned earlier in the thread a virus can infect the boot sector/Master Boot Record where it may prevent re-installing the operating system.

The only option would be to do a low-level format, where every sector is written with a zero, and reformat. This will destroy all the data on the drive and it will not be recoverable. A low-level format can takes days to complete depending on the size of the drive.

I have always prided myself that I have never let a virus/trojan beat me in the 10 years I have been running my business. That is until 2 days ago. I got in a PC in that was infected by a Fake System Tools/AV trojan and no matter what I did I couldn't remove it. In the end I had to wipe and reload.

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11 years 9 months ago #438213 by wandering free
I use Ghost to make a backup of my C drive on a partition on my hdd, and do a backup on an external drive, mind you the partition can't help much if the drive fails.

I use a couple of freeware programs "Zone Alarm" fire wall, antivirus and malicious files protection, another free program worth getting is System Care, this can find a lot of junk and speed up the computer.
www.iobit.com/advancedsystemcareper.htmlhttp://

Just me and the cat now, on 2 acres of fruit and veg + hazel nuts, macadamia, chestnuts and walnuts,
www.youtube.com/user/bandjsellars?feature=mhee

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